MSU Concludes Homestand Against Northwestern
The Spartans return to the Breslin Center for second-straight home game.
|Michigan State (11-4, 1-1 B1G) vs. Northwestern (8-8, 1-1 B1G)|
|Date||Wednesday, Jan. 3|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center | Bag Policy|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Northwestern|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Northwestern|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State opens the 2018 portion of the schedule, concluding a two-game homestand against Northwestern on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center. The Spartans are 11-4 and 1-1 in the Big Ten this season. The Wildcats are 8-8 this year and also hold a 1-1 mark in league action. The game will be streamed on BTN Plus.
• Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee notched her first double-double of the season in MSU’s loss to Rutgers on Dec. 31, grabbing a season-high 10 rebounds and adding 10 points, tallying the sixth double-double of her career. Agee has scored in double figures the last three games, as part of her ninth game this season. She is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.9 ppg.
• Junior forward Jenna Allen was just shy of recording her sixth-straight double figure scoring game when she recorded nine points against Rutgers on Dec. 31. This season, she already has eight double figure scoring games which matches her total from all of last season. She recorded a career-high 28 points against Notre Dame on Dec. 6.
• The Spartans are 10th in the nation in assists with 276 and 16th in assists per game, averaging 18.4. Michigan State is also 24th in the nation in rebounds per game (43.9)and 13th in rebound margin (+10.8). This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 35th in the nation in assists per game (5.5 apg).
• The starting lineup of Taryn McCutcheon, Shay Colley, Lexi Gussert, Sidney Cooks and Jenna Allen is now 5-0 this season.
GETTING IN THE LINEUP
The Spartans have had six different starting lineups this season. Only sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon have started all 15 games. Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley has started 13 games, while junior center Jenna Allen and fareshman forward Sidney Cooks have both started 12 games. Seven Spartans have played in all 15 games, including Colley, McCutcheon, Allen, Cooks, Lexi Gussert, Nia Hollie and Victoria Gaines.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon is approaching the top 20 in career assists after only 48 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 252 career assists for an average of 5.3 assists per game. She needs just 15 assists to tie Jasmine Thomas (2009-13) for 20th on the all-time MSU career list.
GETTING OVER 40
Rebounding has been the key to the Spartans’ success. MSU is 8-0 when getting over 41 boards in a game. Michigan State has had over 56 rebounds three times this season against Oakland, College of Charleston and Detroit Mercy. Overall the Spartans are 10-1 when out-rebounding its opponents.
RISING THE CHARTS
Junior forward Jenna Allen has increased her scoring every season that she has been at Michigan State. This season, she is first in scoring, averaging 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. As a freshman, Allen scored 4.5 points in 34 games as a rookie. During her sophomore campaign, she averaged 6.9 ppg in an injury-plagued season. Allen has scored in double figures eight times in 15 games this season.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Northwestern brings an even 8-8 overall and 1-1 B1G record into Wednesday’s match-up with MSU, having won two of its last three games after a three-game losing streak. In its last action, NU beat Illinois, 74-59, on the road on New Year’s Eve, behind four players scoring in double-figures, led by sophomore forward Abi Scheid with a team-high 20 points, one shy of her career-best. Junior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah posted a double-16 double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds, for her third double-double in as many games and her eighth of the season. The freshman guard duo of Jordan Hamilton and Lindsey Pulliam tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively.
In its other B1G game, Northwestern lost at home to Minnesota, 90-63, led by Pulliam with 22 points, while Kunaiyi-Akpanah added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Scheid netted 13 points.
Head coach Joe McKeown is in his 10th year at the leash of the Wildcats’ program, logging a 666-319 overall and 44-87 B1G record. McKeown was head coach of the United States in the World University Games held in Seoul, South Korea in 2015, winning gold, with Spartan great Aerial Powers on the roster.
The Wildcats are 13th in the B1G in scoring offense (63.4 ppg), while ranking fifth in scoring defense (62.3 ppg), ranking 11th in scoring margin (+1.1). NU is fifth in field goal percentage (.444), third in three-point field goal percentage (.377) and eighth in free throw percentage (.715).
Pulliam is tied for 11th in the B1G in scoring with 14.9 ppg, while Scheid is 16th at 13.5 ppg. Kunaiyi-Akpanah is third in the league and 21st in the country in rebounding at 10.6 rpg, averaging a double-double by matching her scoring average of 10.6 ppg. Kunaiyi-Akpanah is also fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (.603). NU has three players in the top 10 in the league in minutes played, as Scheid is seventh at 34.2 mpg, while Hamilton is eighth (33.8 mpg) and Pulliam is 10th (33.4 mpg).
LAST TIME VS. NORTHWESTERN
Despite 25 points from senior guard Tori Jankoska and a double-double from senior guard Branndais Agee, the Michigan State women’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought battle with Northwestern, 76-65, on Jan. 17, 2017.
The Spartans were playing their second game this season without head coach Suzy Merchant, who took a medical leave of absence. Merchant also didn’t coach in the Jan. 4 game at Purdue.
Jankoska had her 11th 20-point game of the season with 25 points, including going 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. She also added eight rebounds and three assists. Agee registered her first double-double of the season and fourth of her career with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Michigan State leads the all-time series record with Northwestern 42-25. MSU is 24-7 when at the Breslin Center, 17-18 on the road, and 1-0 in a neutral location. In the last match-up between the Spartans and Wildcats, MSU lost at NU, 76-65, on Jan. 18, 2017. Michigan State has won 17 of the last 18 meetings in East Lansing, having a 16-game home win streak vs. Northwestern snapped on Dec. 28, 2014, with a 61-57 loss to NU. MSU bounced back with a 74-51 home win on Jan. 10, 2016. The Dec. 28, 2014 Northwestern win was also the last road win in the series, as the home team has won the last three meetings.
BIG TEN OPENERS
Michigan State is 23-13 in home Big Ten openers in 36 years in the league. This season, the Spartans fell to Rutgers on Dec. 31, 61-58.
Michigan State is 18-18 all-time in Big Ten openers, having won its last five of its last seven ... Under Coach Merchant, the Spartans are 7-4 in Big Ten openers ... MSU earned a dominating 68-46 win over Indiana in Bloomington, 68-46 on Dec. 28 ... This was the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Spartans have opened B1G play with the Hoosiers. MSU captured that game in Bloomington, 63-49.
CAREER VS. THE WILDCATS
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee has played three career games against Northwestern, averaging 12.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in those contests. Last season in one meeting, she scored 12 point with 10 boards in a road loss. Senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert has played in four games against Northwestern, averaging 1.5 points in those four games where MSU has gone 2-2.
Against East Tennessee State on Dec. 16, Michigan State set a new school record with 15 blocks. The previous record was 13 against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006. Senior forward Taya Reimer and senior guard Branndais Agee added four blocks each, while freshman forward Sidney Cooks and sophomore forward Victoria Gaines swatted two apiece. Michigan State’s previous high this season was seven blocks against Oakland on Nov. 13.
CAREER NIGHT FOR COLLEY
Sophomore guard Shay Colley’s career-high 27 points against South Florida topped her previous career-best of 16 points against Robert Morris in the season-opener. It was Collley’s second-straight double-figure scoring outing and third in the last four games, along with her fifth of the season.
Colley’s 27 points was the second-highest by a Spartan this season, behind junior forward Jenna Allen’s 28-point outing at Notre Dame, and also marked the third time this season that an MSU player has scored 20+ points in a game, as along with Allen’s 28 points, senior forward Taya Reimer tallied 20 points against Oakland.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Senior forward Taya Reimer reached a milestone, passing the 1,000-career point plateau against UConn on Nov. 25. Between her two seasons at Notre Dame and her two at Michigan State, she now has 1,080 career points. She is currently fifth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 9.6 points per game.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant’s first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 70-26 (72.9%) following a loss.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first nine games of the season, the Spartans have taken on both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. MSU has already faced top-ranked UConn and took on No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 6. Last season, Michigan State faced both No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Maryland in one season. The Spartans have never faced the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in the same season.
STINGY AT HOME
Against Rhode Island on Dec. 9, the 18 first-half points were the fewest allowed this season by the Spartans. MSU allowed only 22 points against Robert Morris and 19 against Quinnipiac. The Spartans held the Rams to just 38 points, the lowest allowed for an opponent this season. The three fourth-quarter points were fewest ever in a quarter.
Michigan State has been dominating in the fourth quarter at home, out-scoring its opponents, 143-88 in the final 10 minutes. Overall at home, MSU has scored 581 points, while allowing only 380. Overall MSU is 6-1 at home this season.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Freshman Sidney Cooks is third on the team in scoring, she also is 10th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.545).
Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is third in assists behind Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell and Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle, averaging 5.5 apg. She tied a career high with 12 against Notre Dame on Dec. 6 and added 10 assists in overtime against ETSU on Dec. 16. Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley is 16th in assists with 3.7 per game. Colley is also sixth in the B1G in steals, averaging 2.2 spg.
MSU is third in the league assists, averaging 18.4 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 22.7 apg. Michigan State is also first in rebound margin (+10.8) and third in steals (9.9).
AROUND THE NATION
The Spartans are 10th in the nation in assists with 276 and 16th in assists per game, averaging 18.4. Michigan State is also 24th in the nation in rebounds per game (43.9)and 13th in rebound margin (+10.8). This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 35th in the nation in assists per game (5.5 apg).
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th MSU women’s basketball player to reach 1,000 points with 10 points against No. 1 UConn on Nov. 25. Agee started the week by scoring a season-high 17 points in her hometown against Detroit, bringing her career point total to 991 and going over 1,000 against UConn. She now has 1,078 career points in the Green and White. Agee is averaging 10.9 points through the first 15 games of the season, which is second on the team. Tori Jankoska was the last Spartan to reach 1,000 points doing so on Nov. 27, 2015.
CLOSING IT OUT
The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 168 of their last 175 games (.960) when leading with five minutes left, including 119 of their last 127. In Coach Merchant’s tenure, Michigan State is 203-12 (.944) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 11-1.
FANS CONTINUE TO PACK THE BRESLIN
Michigan State women’s basketball continues to pack the Breslin Center, finishing the 2016-17 season ninth in the nation and first in the Big Ten home attendance. The Spartans averaged 6,011 fans in 14 home games this season. MSU had a total of 84,152 fans pass through the gates. This is the 13th-straight season that the Spartans have been ranked in the top 15 nationally in attendance. MSU has had a total attendance of at least 80,000 since 2005-06.
This season, Michigan State is 15th in attendance, averaging 5,017 fans per game. They are fourth in the Big Ten behind Purdue (5,710), Ohio State (5,517) and Maryland (5,249).
LAST TIME OUT
Despite redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee’s first double-double of the season, Michigan State women’s basketball had its six-game winning streak halted by Rutgers, 61-58, Sunday at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans drop to 11-4 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten action. The Scarlet Knights are now 14-2 overall and 2-0 in league contests and have won nine-straight games.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley led the Spartans with 16 points, adding five rebounds and four assists. Freshman forward Sidney Cooks added 11 points in the loss. Agee had 10 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the year and sixth of her career.
Rutgers was led by Tyler Scaife with 25 points, the only Scarlet Knight player in double-figures.
AGEE NAMED TO WATCH LIST
Michigan State redshirt-senior Branndais Agee was named to the watch list for the inaugural Cheryl Miller Award, which will be awarded to the top small forward women’s basketball; it was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
She is one of five players from the Big Ten to be named to the watch list along with Indiana’s Amanda Cahill, Maryland’s Brianna Fraser, Ohio State’s Stephanie Mavunga and Wisconsin’s Cayla McMorris. Agee has already garnered preseason All-Big Ten honors by the coaches. Last season, Agee earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors along with fellow senior Taya Reimer and sophomore Taryn McCutcheon.
IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
The Spartans improved to 175-97 (.643) all-time in the month of December. Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 58-27 (.682) in the 12th month of the calendar year. The Spartans have won 30 of their last 44 games in December.
The Michigan State Athletics Department officially opened the Gilbert Pavilion and the Tom Izzo Hall of History on Friday afternoon in a ceremony at the Breslin Center.
The addition features the Tom Izzo Hall of History features a locker room and interactive areas that enhance the fan experience for the more than 500,000 people attending events each year.
The Spartans welcome to their staff three former Michigan State players. Former Big Ten Player of the Year Kalisha Keane and All-Big Ten honorees Jasmine Hines and Annalise Pickrel are all graduate assistants with the Spartans this season.
Michigan State concludes its two-game homestand, hosting Northwestern on Wednesday, Jan. 3. The 11-4 Spartans host the 8-8 Wildcats to open the 2018 portion of the season. MSU will then begin a tough three-game road swing at Minnesota on Sunday, Jan. 7 on the Big Ten Network. The Spartans will then take on No. 13 Maryland on Jan. 11 and Illinois on the road on Jan. 16.
In head coach Suzy Merchant’s tenure, when two numbers on the scoreboard were achieved it typically has been a sign of a MSU win. Overall, MSU has scored at least 70 points nine times overall this season. MSU has won 115 of its last 125 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 132-17 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 9-0 when scoring at least 70.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 28-48 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 6-19 on the road and 4-15 on a neutral court. As a ranked team against fellow ranked team, MSU is 15-22 versus ranked teams. This season, MSU is 1-2 against ranked teams with a loss to No. 1 UConn, 96-62 and a defeat against Notre Dame, 90-59. MSU defeated No. 22 South Florida, 83-73, on Dec. 21.
PK80 INVITATIONAL RECAP
Michigan State celebrated Thanksgiving weekend at the PK80 Invitational in honor of Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. The Spartans attended a Nike event before watching the MSU men’s team take on DePaul on Thanksgiving day. Michigan State fell to No. 1 UConn, 96-62, on Saturday, Nov. 25 in Eugene at Matthew Knight Arena. In the other game, Oregon defeated Oklahoma.
AGEE EARNS PRESEASON HONOR
The Big Ten Conference released the Preseason Coaches and Media Polls, in addition to the 10-member preseason All-Big Ten team on Monday. Michigan State redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team by the coaches. Reigning Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, which was the No. 1 pick in both the coaches and the media poll. Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year in both polls.
MEET THE 2018-19 SIGNEES
Michigan State women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, including Nia Clouden (Owing Mills, Maryland/St. Frances), Tory Ozment (Buford, Georgia/Buford) and Kayla Belles (Ithaca, Michigan/Ithaca).
Clouden is a 5-8 point guard who plays for head coach Jerome Shelton at St. Frances Academy. She is currently ranked No. 43 overall and No. 13 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last March, Clouden was named Maryland Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the third Baltimore-area player to win the award in 11 years. She was also the USA Today Maryland Player of the Year last season. She is a two-time captain, who averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists per game as a junior. Last season, the Panthers captured their second-straight IAAM Championship. St. Frances also advanced to the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals, falling in overtime. Clouden has also earned first-team Baltimore Sun honor in both 2016 and 2017.
Ozment is a 6-1 guard/forward who plays for head coach Gene Durden at Buford High School. Durden has captured five state championships during time at Buford. She is currently ranked No. 14 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last season, Ozment was named the AAAAA State Player of the Year as well as being named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Associations All-State squad. Ozment earned Atlanta Tipoff Club and Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro team. Last season, she averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, leading Buford on a run to the Class AAAAA State Championship. As a sophomore, she guided Buford to the AAAA Final Four, averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 assists per game.
Belles is a 6-3 forward who plays for head coach Ty Warczinksy at Ithaca High School. As a junior, Belles averaged 19.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocked shots and 2.6 steals per game, earning Associated Press Class B all-state honors. She led the Yellowjackets to three-straight Tri-Valley Conference West Division titles, which included a run to the Class C Final Four during her sophomore campaign. She garnered first-team all-state honors three-straight seasons, averaging a double-double the last two seasons. She is a multi-sport athlete, who earned all-state honors in both basketball and volleyball. Belles will miss her senior year of high school after tearing her ACL over the summer.
BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
Michigan State played in the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, falling to Miami, 67-57. The ACC captured this year’s Challenge title by a 10-4 count. Last season, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue registered wins for the Big Ten. Michigan State lost to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last season, 75-64. Overall, MSU is 5-6 in the Challenge.
B1G/ACC Challenge History
2017 - Miami 67, MSU 57
2016 - Syracuse 75, MSU 64
2015 - Louisville 85, MSU 78
2014 - MSU 79, Georgia Tech 73 (OT)
2013 - Florida State 60, MSU 58
2012 - MSU 68, N.C. State 51
2011 - Miami 76, MSU 60
2010 - MSU 72, Florida State 64
2009 - MSU 72, North Carolina 66
2008 - Georgia Tech 57, MSU 50
2007 - MSU 68, Clemson 51
Bold = home games